The Photograph selected for development filmessay

The couple in Raccoon Coats, James VanDerZee, 1932.

The couple in Raccoon Coats, James VanDerZee, 1932.











The filmplan for the film The Photograph (working title) by Memphis Film & Television and director Sherman De Jesus is selected for a development contribution by the prestigious jury of the Mediafonds. The Mediafonds made an open call to makers at the beginning of this year, to challenge them to take it to the next level. By looking for the extensive connections in the world and by visualizing urging nowaday themes in an unconvential way.

Five filmplans were selected by the jury out of 36 submissions. One of the chosen plans is The Photograph: an inquiry into ideas on race and values that are granted by using a photograph of the grandfather of the maker, by photographer James VanDerZee. The film critically researches how black people were captured then and now. The Photograph is a coproduction with AVRO-TROS.

The verdict of the jury consisting of Bero Beyer (general and artistic director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam), Mieke Bernink (lector Film and programme director Master Dutch Film Academy), Peter Delpeut (film maker and writer), Mea Dols de Jong (film maker and video editor at NRC Media) and Manu Riche (film maker and producer, based in Brussels) was as follows:

The Photograph is a beautiful and relevant story, meandering through time, personal and yet universal, about the grandfather of the maker and the invisibility of the black man. The application is well written and the research is also in this early stage, very solid. The maker takes the viewer to unknown worlds and a history to which he is personally connected. It could head into the direction of a traditional biopic on James VanDerZee, but the jury is convinced that the maker will appoint his own experiences with invisibility, and will show himself in the film, so it becomes more than just that.  

By not only letting the research question on the invisibility of black people and the personal vision of the maker on this subject being the incentive of the film, but also being a part of it, the Photograph distinguishes itself.


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